Soweto whizz kid aces his results

Siphiwe Bogatsu got seven distinctions for his matric exams. / Vicky Abraham
Siphiwe Bogatsu got seven distinctions for his matric exams. / Vicky Abraham

A 17-year-old Soweto youngster is living proof that nothing is impossible in life. Studying in a toilet during the night did not prevent Siphiwe Bogatsu from acing seven distinctions for his 2018 matric exams.

"I would go to the toilet, close the lid, sit on it, place my books on a laundry basket and study. I would study for four hours and take breaks in between.

"I started doing that after the birth of my baby brother in April," said the former pupil from St Martin de Porres Combined School in Orlando West.

Bogatsu shares a back room with his eight-month-old brother Omolemo and their mother Itumeleng at Dobsonville Gardens.

To avoid disturbing his baby brother with the light at night, Bogatsu chose to study in the toilet to prepare for his matric exams.

He said the back room is located at his grandparents' home.

"I had to compromise so that my little brother can sleep. I thought to myself, I cannot sleep, I have to study."

He obtained 99% in physical science, 92% in life orientation, 91% in mathematics, 90% in geography, 89% in life sciences, 82% in English and 81% in Zulu.

Reflecting on his matric year journey, he chuckled: "While I was studying, she [my mother] would call me to give her things like gripe water and napkins for the baby.

"She would send me to throw away some of the things outside in the rubbish bin.

"I did not sulk because I would get consistent support from my family, friends and even teachers."

Bogatsu attended extra lessons at Kutlwanong Centre for Maths, Science and Technology and at St Martin de Porres Combined School.

"I could not believe that I missed 1% in physics. It was unbelievable, seriously. But at Kutlwanong Pro Maths, they only wanted 100% for maths and physical sciences, so I would say I am disappointed."

He has applied for funding at different bursars, including the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust and National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and he is still waiting for a response.

"I want to pursue a degree in Bachelor of Science in environmental and geographical science at the University of Cape Town in the Western Cape.

"I want to change the environment that we are living in because there's air pollution, land pollution and littering in Johannesburg. That is an eyesore for everyone."

His message to the class of 2019?

"They should stay disciplined, strive for good results, and they should not forget their social lives because it comes [in] handy during the stressful moments of the year. The rest will follow."

Bogatsu's mom said she was happy about her son's achievements.

"We pray to God that he gets a bursary and that they can respond on time. He worked very hard. He has made me proud. He did not disappoint me."